Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kamil Khan Mumtaz works

Kamil Khan Mumtaz is Pakistani architect and was born and grew up on the sub-continent, surrounded by some of the best examples of traditional craftsmanship, vernacular and civic architecture from pre-Mogul to British era. His professional training abroad, in his view, almost put him off course and he was forced to make some ‘mid-way corrections’ to his professional progress to return to a point where his work was ’seamlessly’ connected to the centuries of of traditions. The factor which is starting to separate him from Laurie and others is his understanding and sincere belief in Islam and Sufism which is shaping his new work wherever enlightened and like minded clients allow.

Islam and its rich heritage offers him a framework to bridge the gap between alien western culture on one side and prevailing lack of continuity and cultural relevance in local architectural world on the other. He is striving hard to regain the understanding of the past where religion, culture and building forms and techniques were in harmony


The sensibilities of the architect are moulded by his academic training. He is sensitised to the role of “function” and of “pure aesthetics” of sensible form, but not to that of religion as a factor in the design process. Thus it is only in deference to a valued client’s sensibilities, or as a cultural metaphor rather than as religious symbol; that the average architect may be persuaded to incorporate some token reference to traditional forms into his otherwise “modern” designs.


I have been able to evoke the delights of discovering the hidden paradise with internal patios and fountains.

I have learned to work within the framework of a new discipline of symmetries, proportions, and rhythms which reflect the cosmic order and perfect balance underlying the apparent chaos of the universe

An architecture based on appropriate technology will fail to convey its message unless it also employs a language that is appropriate and meani …within these same environments the opportunities have also existed for architecture to act as a catalyst in promoting a meaningful debate which addresses issues which should be central to the discourse of architecture in these environments: Architecture can play this role by positing strategies for urban development in the context of high rates of population growth, high rates of urbanisation, and persistent poverty; by exploring the validity of urban forms and morphologies which have evolved over the millennia in this particular geographic context; by imaginatively exploiting available material resources and skills and developing appropriate technologies; by designing buildings which are responsive to the climate of their region; by developing an architectural vocabulary which is meaningful to the people and relevant to their culture and history; by creating relationships of spaces and buildings which are sensitive to prevailing social values and norms; and by clarifying the issues in the current debate on modernity and tradition in these societies.

lahorefeb094-1.jpgI wish Kamil Khan Mumtaz best wishes and luck in the world. He has already started a debate and highlighted the issues, which are crucial for the well-being and future of architecture and has produced many exemplary buildings to prove his points. His efforts have already introduced many craftsmen to the lost art of traditional building materials and techniques. May this long continue and multiply.

Kamil Khan Mumtaz Architects site here;

written by Iqbal Alam at (

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